This Friday is the end of meteorological winter, but it won't feel like it. Highs and lows will be 25-30 degrees below climatological normal through next weekend.
Meteorological winter is designated December-February and this year has been the 11th coldest on record.
Wednesday: Sunny. H: 16 L: -9 Wind: SW 10-15
Thursday: Partly sunny. H: -1 L: -10 Wind: NW 5-10
Friday: Partly sunny. H: 7 L: -12 Wind: NW 5
Saturday: Increasing clouds, overnight snow showers. H: 1 L: -10 Wind: NW 7
Sunday: Continued cold. H: 10 L: -1 Wind: NW 2
Record Ice on Great Lakes
One of the side effects of the extensive cold has been record ice cover on the Great Lakes. Ice covers an average of 88% of the lakes, the most since 1994. Lake Superior is now 94% covered giving way to spectacular ice caves that have been attracting thousands of visitors, including cyclists.
Which brings up an interesting point. Michigan's soils and shorelines are fragile, and off-road vehicles along stream banks and other waterways are restricted during the warm season. Off-road vehicles include ATV's, cars...and bikes. But what about in the rare event that the lake freezes over?
Mixed messages have been sent out. Some have been told that biking along the shoreline and ice caves is legal whereas others have been told otherwise. I know a group of riders heading up to northern Michigan this week and they plan to meet with the park rangers to get a straight answer before they hop on their saddles and explore the ice caves.
Geeze, that nearly 40 degree high on Sunday was nice while it lasted! Another blob of cold air rotating around the polar vortex sends the latest arctic wave into Minnesota. Those that plan on commuting to work will need to layer up pretty much all week. Luckily, the cold eases up come the weekend for the 2nd Get Phat with Pat race at the River Bottoms.
Monday Night: Turning much colder. L: -15
Tuesday: Coldest day of the week H: -5 L: -7 Wind: NW 4
Wednesday: Early AM light snow. H: 2 L: -12 Wind: NW 10
Thursday: Clear & cold. H: -3 L: -10 Wind: W 10
Friday: Snow. Around 1 inch. H: 22 L: 17 Wind: SW 10-15
Saturday: Snow showers. H: 25 L: 3 Wind: N 10-15
Sunday: Snow showers. H: 21 L: 15 Wind: SW 10
Blizzard conditions can only mean one thing to the Minnesota fatbiker: trail maintenance. Winds packing over 30 mph combined with the 4"-6" snowfall we received this week has made the snow deep on spots. Any exposed area of trail likely has significant drifting. Carver Lake Park, for example, is planning trail maintenance and packing before the Cold Catfish Cup on Sunday.
A fresh round of 2"-4" of snow by Saturday should make the Get Phat with Pat River Bottoms Race interesting! Winds are always an issue when these strong Alberta Clippers race through Minnesota this time of year.
Saturday: Morning snow ending throughout afternoon. H: 18 Wind: S 10 G 20
Saturday Night: Clearing. L: 10 Wind chill: -4
Sunday: Mostly sunny. Breezy. H: 17 L: -7 Wind: 10-15 G 30
Monday: Cloudy and COLD. H: 0 L: -14 Wind: NW 7
Tuesday: Partly sunny. H: -2 L: -12 Wind: W 2-4
Wednesday: Cloudy. H: 5 L: -10 Wind: NW 7
The words 'polar vortex' have been thrown around a lot lately in the media. There's absolutely nothing new about the polar vortex. It has always been in the arctic! The polar vortex is simply the low pressure associated with the core of the coldest air in the northern most latitudes. This swirling low can often swing down lobes of cold air during winter. A piece of the polar vortex is back early next week...beware.
NWS Twin Cities Weather Story